Mike has an old XP Windows desktop, and the hard drive is getting a bit noisy. Leo says that's the first sign of hard drive failure. Being proactive and replacing it now before it goes down permanently is a good idea. He should back up his data and then replace it. Hard drives are cheap. Should he upgrade to a newer version of Windows? Leo says yes, if for no other reason because Microsoft will end of life XP next April. There will be no updates or security patches.
Mike's friend has a Compaq Presario that no longer will boot up since installing Windows Updates. He was able to get it to boot up into a Linux boot CD, however. Leo says that the hard drive has likely failed, and that it was just coincidental with the Windows Update.
Judy bought a Windows 8 computer recently, and is having problems with it. Leo says to try and do a system restore - but make sure to backup the data so it isn't lost. If the problems go away after she does, then it was a software issue. If the hard drive continues to crash, then there's a hardware issue and it needs to be returned. As for the hard drive structure getting messed up, it could be a failing hard drive, which can happen at an early stage. She should take it back and ask for a replacement as Leo doesn't think this sounds like something she could have done to cause it.
Neil has Windows 8 and is using Storage Spaces with his SSD and hard drive. He's mirroring the data for backup, and is wondering if he still needs an external backup drive. Leo says no, he's already backing up that data with the mirroring option. He can get another backup if he wants, but he should be ok since he's also using Carbonite to backup off site.
(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor).
Manuel has a Lenovo A2109 Tablet and he'd like to hook up a portable hard drive to it. It isn't working because his portable hard drive isn't powered, and the tablet doesn't seem to be giving it enough power to work.
There are two problems with this. First, despite the fact that the computer may be similar to the old one, it's not identical. Drivers are different, so some things may not work. Leo recommends starting in safe mode first, and remove drivers for devices that had changed, then let Windows plug and play new drivers.
Bob has a 64GB hard drive which isn't very big and fills up fast, especially since Windows will take up about half of that. He should first find out what is on his hard drive and clear out a bunch of things that he doesn't need. To do this, Leo recommends a program called WindDirStat. On the Mac there's a program called DiscInventoryX. This gives a visual display of what's on the drive. He can search in Windows by size, so he could find big files without downloading anything.
Tess got an HP 110 Netbook from someone who replaced the hard drive with a different one. Now it's giving her errors that she's missing the boot manager, and is not able to be repaired or restored. Leo suspects that whatever the previous owner did when installing the new drive made it nearly impossible to recover.
Leo thinks that Disc Utility is seeing the USB interface, but may not be seeing the drive. Eric says it can check the drive and reports a volume error and won't mount. Leo says to take the drive out of the USB case, put it into a PC, then run SpinRite on it. Eric is also wondering if he should clone the drive before doing any of this. He can try, but cloning software isn’t persistent and may just give up. SpinRite is nondestructive anyway.
Leo says companies have all had different problems with their drives, and now because of acquisitions there's only a handful of hard drive manufacturers. Leo recommends Western Digital though. They have the Caviar Green and the Caviar Black. If he just needs a backup drive, Leo would get the Caviar Green. It's slower, but uses less energy. If Rick really needs the speed, he should go with the Black.